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What These 4 Childhood Games Taught Me About Life And Running A Business

“Acquiring assets, thinking 20 steps ahead to prevent natural life and business disasters, and persuasive communication -- these board game strategies will help you build valuable skill sets, critical in your life and business.”

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Image by Pixabay
Image by Pixabay

“Just like that, my sibling bought all of the railroads, utility companies, and claimed enough property assets for me to fork over my last $50 and bankrupt me in Monopoly.”

When was the last time you engaged in a friendly competition with Monopoly or a board game? Was it when you were a child or when you became a parent and played board games with your own children?

As a business owner, I went through the trials and tribulations of owning my business and never fully realized the value of the board games that I have played as a child, and its real-world contexts in my life and business world.

Not only were board games used as a way to entertain myself through rainy days, they but taught me very powerful lessons on life and business.

1. Monopoly – How to create a network of assets to help you expand and generate additional income from this network. “By harnessing our teammates’ unique skills and passion for giving, our professional networks and partnerships, and our financial resources, we will inspire the dreamers and doers of tomorrow and drive positive, lasting change in our communities across the globe.” (Dennis Muilenburg, Chairman of the Boeing Company)

Building a huge email list and having access to thousands to millions of prospects can be a huge task on its own. This process can take years to decades to get to this point. By forming strategic partnerships you are adding fuel to your business and getting unparalleled access to innovative ideas, financial resources, and other resources that you may not have otherwise had.

This will help you to get to the point where you can scale your business and have a fully functional, sustainable business where you can confidently step away from it without having to worry about losing revenue. Now your strategic partnerships and assets are working for you and they are no longer attached to the factor of your time. The bigger the network is the more  

2. Poker – (How to Assess Opportunities): In the game of Poker, you are dealt a hand of cards and knowing which cards to discard and which cards to keep, is the key to securing the best hand to win the game. As a small business owner, there are a number of responsibilities and opportunities that will come your way. When time is limited, you will need to create a system to assess whether or not these things are worth your time. Once you’ve established that it is important to your business, how do you prioritize these things along with all of the other things going on in your business?

“As all entrepreneurs know, you live and die by your ability to prioritize. You must focus on the most important, mission-critical tasks each day and night, and then share, delegate, delay or skip the rest.” (Jessica Jackley, CEO of ProFounder)

Time is a limited resource—in life and in business. Once this resource is gone, there is no way to replace the time that has already spent.  In order to make sure that you are designing the best use of this invaluable resource, it is critical to use time strategically. Especially if you are a business owner with mounting responsibilities and a limited amount of time before you have to close up shop.

A key component to being strategic with your time is to create the highest return on investment with the most minimal use of your time. When it comes to keeping your business alive, having predictable recurring income is paramount to keeping the shop doors open.  

The Pareto Principle or the “80/20” rule was originally a concept coined from the economist, Vilfredo Pareto. Based on this principle he discovered that 80% of the land in Italy, was owned by 20% of the wealthy population.   

Today, this same principle has been applied to the area of business to effectively find the best use of time with the maximum amount of results. Much like a deck of cards there are some opportunities that will come up and you will never see again, and you have to make the determination if you should spend time on it, or move on.

A good rule of thumb is to focus 80% of the time on efforts that cause direct growth and income into your business and outsource the day-to-day tasks such as the administrative and clerical operations. The moment that a business fails to generate income from sales leads, it will cease to exist. Having a to-do list and sorting them according to priority based upon: what will be the consequences if this is not handled immediately, and how this directly creates growth for your business – is essential to managing your limited time effectively. These high priority activities should be geared towards partnerships and expansions for the continued growth of the business and minimizing liability.

3. The Game of Life (Ability to Adapt to Change): In the Game of Life, you are constantly being thrown life events that are beyond control. With every roll of the dice, you run the chance of encountering unexpected bills, emergencies, and other random life events.  

What would happen if all your sales leads disappeared tomorrow? How will you be able to deal with this? Having a plan B to deal with unexpected emergencies is an important part of adapting to the ever-changing situations of business and in life. Preparing for potential issues in the future by being proactive, is a lot more than effective than just reacting to unfavorable events, as they happen.

As human beings, our natural, instantaneous reaction to these type of unsavory events would be to respond with feelings of fear and desperation, when we are faced with these curveballs in business and life.

Although we can not control the events that happen in our personal or professional life, we do have the option to let these negative emotions control you, or you can control these damaging thoughts and use your source of fear to propel you to start taking actions that you’d never thought would be possible.

4. Pictionary (Communicating Persuasively Without Using Explicit Words):  

Human models are more vivid and more persuasive than explicit moral commands.”  (Daniel J Boorstin, Librarian of the U.S. Congress)

The game “Pictionary” is a strong demonstration of the importance of being able to communicate a message without having the ability to explicitly say them. Placing a thought or a message in a person’s mind allows you to communicate your point more effectively.

In a sales conversation, the body language that you are presenting as well as the types of questions that you ask your prospects – will speak volumes.

By asserting your body language in a manner that asserts confidence and asking your prospects the right questions that will reveal their pain points, you are in a much better position to convince them that your product or service is the right solution for their problems. When you nail the skill of communicating and negotiating with people of power, there will be a lot more ample opportunities in expanding your career, business, and life.

Next time you play these games with your child, give them a lesson in business and challenge them to think about their lives and goals differently.

Not only are you spending quality time with your child, but you are also shaping the way think about the world and impacting their lives in a meaningful way.

About the Author

Jennifer Yan is an online marketer that helps business owner 100X their business growth through the use of search engines, influencers, and media. She has done marketing research for major technology companies in the Silicon Valley Area. Her focus is on strategic marketing to create the most effective growth for a business in a shorter amount of time. Please contact her at [email protected] to see how she can ignite the growth of your business.

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